Major progress in e-bidding
Rejaul Karim Byron
An electronic payment system will be introduced in February as a major breakthrough in the government bidding system, freeing the process of corruption and hassles.
The Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU) of the planning ministry yesterday held final discussions with Bangladesh Bank and 12 commercial banks on the new system.
A high official of CPTU said the government is going to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the scheduled banks by the end of this month.
In the first phase of the electronic government procurement (e-GP) system, the contractors have to go to a CPTU-approved bank to pay cash, demand drafts of pay orders to sign up for the system, CPTU said.
The contractors must download tender documents and process tender security or bank guarantees.
In the second phase, there are possibilities of opening various channels such as ATM, debit card, credit card or internet banking.
In the second phase, CPTU will sit with respective e-payment providers for further discussion, the official said.
A Bangladesh Bank official told the meeting that the central bank is going to introduce the e-payment gateway which will enable the contractors to make payments staying home.
The meeting also discussed charges for e-payment and decided that the banks will fix their service charges but Bangladesh Bank may interfere to ensure that does not vary too much from bank to bank.
The headquarters of banks need to instruct their respective branches to receive e-payment, CPTU said. Banks agreed that after signing the MoU they would request their branches to receive e-payment through the e-GP dashboard.
CPTU informed banks that every bank should engage one appropriate focal person for this project, who will act on behalf of the bank and coordinate with CPTU as required.
Secretary of the IME Division Md Habib Ullah Majumder presided over the meeting organised by the CPTU. Director General of CPTU Amulya Kumar Debnath, Executive Director of Bangladesh Bank Nazneen Sultana, and CPTU Director Aziz Taher Khan were present on the occasion.
Representatives from different banks including Janata, Sonali, Agrani, Uttara, Pubali, National, Dutch-Bangla, UCBL, Krishi Bank and Islami Bank also attended the meeting.
The CPTU made a presentation on e-payment options in the e-GP system in the meeting. The bank representatives discussed the existing payment system, its capacity and how they can be involved in the process of electronic payment.
The CPTU is implementing the Public Procurement Reform Project-II (PPRP-II) supported by the World Bank. The e-GP, one of the four components of the PPRP-II, is going to be introduced initially at four target agencies — LGED, REB, WDB and RHD.